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RSCC Policy PA-01-02; Employee Grievance/Complaint Procedure
RSCC Policy PA-01-02; Employee Grievance/Complaint Procedure
Roane State Community College
Policy Number: PA-01-02
Subject: Employee Grievance/Complaint Procedure
  1. Application of Procedure
    This procedure replaces the Roane State Affirmative Action/Complaint Procedure and is applicable to all employees. The procedure is not applicable to a termination procedure initiated against a tenured faculty member under TBR Policy No. 5:02:03:00 Section III 16 (d). The grievance committee established pursuant to the within procedure shall be used where an employee requests an institutional hearing in the following situations:

    This procedure shall be used for review by the grievance committee (established pursuant to the procedure) when resolving a complaint initiated pursuant to TBR Policy No. 5:02:02:00 (Faculty Promotion).

    1. Actions relating to the suspension of employees for cause or termination in violation of an employment contract which fall under TBR Policy No. 1:06:00:05 (Cases Subject to TUAPA), or TBR Policy No. 5:02:03:00 Section III. 16.b (2) (suspension of tenured faculty which provides for no other type of hearing procedure.)
    2. Actions involving harassment pursuant to TBR Guideline P-080 Section B.2.
  2. Definitions
    1. Matters Subject to the Grievance or Complaint Procedure
      Two types of matters shall be addressed through this procedure. They are:
      1. grievances subject to committee review, and
      2. complaints which must be resolved without a committee review.

      1. Grievances (Committee review available) - An employee may only grieve those matters defined in a. through c. A grievance may result from any action that Roane State has taken against an employee which;
        1. violates institutional or TBR policy, or involves an inconsistent application of these same policies;
        2. violates state or federal discrimination statues in that the adverse action is based solely on race, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or veteran's status;
        3. violates any constitutional right. The most likely areas of concern are the First, Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment of the federal constitution when that action hampers free speech, freedom of religion, the right to association, provides for improper search and seizure, or denies constitutionally required notice or procedures.
      2. Complaints (Committee review not available) - A complaint is a concern which an employee wants to discuss with supervisory personnel in an effort to resolve the matter. Personnel actions such as performance evaluations, rates of pay, position re-classifications, or position terminations due to reduction in force do not fall under the definition of complaint.
    2. Employees
      All references to the term "employee(s)" contained in this procedure, include only those individuals defined in this paragraph. Employees shall include administrators, faculty (including full-time faculty on term or temporary contracts), professionals, clerical and support personnel. Probationary employees are also included in this definition. Student workers, adjunct faculty, and temporary workers are not included in the definition of employees.
    3. Grievance Committee
      The President will determine the members of this committee who will hear individual grievances. The committee will include peer representation taking into account the legal distinctions between tenured faculty and non-faculty. A pool of committee members will be appointed biannually. This committee will receive training on the institution's grievance procedure. The President will select committee members from this pool.
  3. Applicability of Procedures
    1. All employees shall have access to the grievance/complaint procedure.
    2. All employees are encouraged to discuss any problem with their supervisor or department head prior to using any grievance or complaint procedure. The institution shall attempt to each grievance or complaint at the lowest level possible.
    3. Employees should file grievances with the Director of Human Resources. Complaints may be discussed with the immediate supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.
  4. Responsibility for Implementation
    1. The President of the College provides the final decision where a grievance is involved.
    2. No employee shall retaliate or discriminate against another employee because of the latter employee's filing of a grievance or complaint. In addition, no employee shall coerce another employee or interfere with the action of another employee in the latter employee's attempt to file a grievance or complaint.
  5. Grievance / Complaint Procedure
    1. Grievances
      1. Grievances which cannot be resolved shall, upon request of the grievant, be referred to a grievance committee as set out in II.C. above. See Section VI. below. The grievant has the option of choosing committee review where he or she has attempted to resolve the matter without success, or it is apparent that such an attempt would be futile.
      2. Grievances which are processed through the grievance committee are appealable to the Chancellor only where they fall within the parameters set out in TBR Policy No. 1:02:11:00. This generally includes all grievances defined in II.A.1. above, except those where the complainant has filed a lawsuit or appeal with a state or federal administrative body.
    2. Complaint Procedure
      1. The complaint must be brought to the attention of the employee's immediate supervisor within ten (10) working days after the employee becomes aware of a problem. The employee should state the basis for the complaint and the corrective action desired in temperate and reasonable terms. The employee and the supervisor should discuss the complaint in an attempt to resolve the matter.
      2. If the supervisor and employee cannot reach a mutual agreement within five (5) working days, the employee may discuss the matter with the next level of supervision. The employee should proceed to this step within five (5) working days of the decision of the immediate supervisor. Failure to comply with this step within the time frame allotted will waiver the rights of the employee complain on the matter.
      3. In the event that an agreement is not reached at the level of supervision in Step 2 within five (5) working days, the employee can continue the process within five (5) working days of each unsuccessful agreement. If the complaint reaches the executive administrative level and cannot be resolved, the employee should file a written complaint with the Dean of Human Resources.
      4. The written complaint must be filed within five (5) working days of the date of the decision of the executive administrator. Failure to comply within the time frame allotted will waive the employee's right to complaint the matter and the complaint may not be raised again.
      5. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Director of Human Resources will permit the employee to present facts and/or material relative to the complaint. The director will investigate the matter and recommend a solution, and will submit a written recommendation to the President within five (5) working days.
      6. Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation or provide an alternate solution. The President's decision shall be final. Complaints do not include a right to any type of hearing, adversarial proceeding, nor the right of appeal to the Chancellor.
  6. Process Applicable to Grievances Only
    1. The employee should begin the process by providing a written grievance to his or her immediate supervisor. In the event that the grievance is against the supervisor, the employee can submit the grievance to the Director of Human Resources. An attempt should be made to begin the procedure at the supervisory level.
    2. The supervisor or Director of Human Resources should resolve the grievance within ten (10) working days from the time that the grievance is filed. In the event that the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the employee should elevate the grievance to the next level of management.
    3. If the next level of management cannot resolve the grievance, the employee should continue the process through the chain of command until it reaches the executive administrator. At all levels of the hierarchy, the process should be handled within ten (10) working days of the time that it is received by the superior.
    4. If the matter cannot be resolved at the executive administrator level, the employee may file the written grievance with the Director of Human Resources within ten (10) working days. At the filing of the written grievance with the Director of Human Resources, the employee has the option to request the grievance to:
      1. be investigated by the Director of Human Resources, or
      2. request a hearing by the grievance committee. If the employee chooses an investigation by the Director of Human Resources, the Director will make a thorough and independent study of the grievance. The Director may request the supervisor(s) to respond in writing to the grievance statement. Within ten (10) working days of the filing of the grievance, the Director of Human Resources will forward a recommendation of the solution to the President. Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation of the Director of Human Resources or provide an alternate solution. The President's decision shall be directed to the employee within five (5) working days. The President's decision shall be final and binding to all parties concerned. An employee dissatisfied with the solution may not request a hearing by the grievance committee.
    5. If the employee chooses to request a hearing by a grievance committee, the President shall appoint a grievance committee as established with this policy. Within ten (10) working days of the filing of the request for a hearing on the grievance, the grievance committee shall conduct an impartial hearing on the grievance, at which time it will accept and review all pertinent information presented by the employee and the chairperson of the committee as well as any other information it deems appropriate. The grievance committee shall make a thorough and independent study. The procedure by the committee shall consist of fact finding. The committee shall be allowed to hear each witness, including the grievant, separately. The grievant shall be allowed to present any pertinent evidence to the committee and to have the committee call those witnesses who have testimony pertinent to the committee's recommendation. Within three (3) working days after the hearing, the chairperson of the committee shall prepare a written report of the committee's recommendation and reasons to the President. The recommendation shall be based on the facts and circumstances as known to the committee. The report shall also contain a summary of the committee's investigation and findings. Copies of the report shall be submitted to all parties involved.
    6. Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept the recommendation of the committee, in whole or part, or provide an alternate solution. Within five (5) working days, the President's decision shall be directed to the chairperson of the committee and all parties involved. The President's decision shall be final and binding as to all concerned. However, grievances which are processed through the grievance committee are appealable to the Chancellor only where they fall with the parameters set out in TBR Policy No. 1:02:11:00.
  7. Additional Requirements for Grievances Only
    1. Grievances must be presented within thirty (30) days after the date of the occurrence giving rise to the grievance. If the grievance arises from repeated or continuing occurrence, the time limit is from the date of the last such occurrence. Any grievance not presented within the time limit is waived. Once a final determination is made, the employee may not present the same grievance again in an attempt to gain a more favorable decision.
    2. The grievance should be stated in reasonable and temperate terms.
    3. A grievance must contain the following information:
      1. The grievant's name and job title;
      2. The department in which the grievant is employed;
      3. An explanation of the grievance;
      4. Names of persons to whom the grievance has previously been presented and the date on which the grievance was presented to each;
      5. Corrective action desired;
      6. The date the written grievance is filed;
      7. Signature of the grievant.
    4. The grievance may be returned to the grievant for additional information or restatement in clearer terms at any step in the process.
    5. All employees are entitled to be accompanied by an advisor at each step of the grievance procedure; however, the advisor may not act as an advocate, but may act as an advisor only.
    6. Decisions should be based on full and fair consideration of all pertinent facts and circumstances.
    7. Employees may pursue grievances during regular business hours. The institution will ensure that all parties have access to all persons, places, and official records for information necessary to the determination and processing of a grievance within specified time limits. This access shall not interfere with normal work-flow of the College. Any questions should be referred to the Director of Human Resources.
    8. Grievances may be withdrawn in writing any stage of the procedure.
    9. A grievance which is the subject of an action filed with an external body shall not be processed through this grievance procedure. The term "external body" includes a court or federal or state administrative body such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Civil Rights, or Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
    10. The person or committee charged with making the decision at each step in the process has the responsibility and authority to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.
    11. At any step in the grievance process, the President is authorized to grant reasonable extensions of the time limits upon a showing of good cause.
  8. Grievance Committee
    1. The President will establish a grievance committee to provide advice on those grievances which reach the final decision-making level. The committee will be chosen from the Grievance Committee Hearing Pool and will include at least one peer representative in accordance with Section II. C above.
    2. Members of the committee will be selected to ensure that committee members will be disinterested in the outcome. Any committee member selected who has a particular interest in the outcome of the decision will be replaced with an alternate to avoid a biased decision. Every effort will be made to include minorities, i.e., ethnic minorities and women, in the composition of the committee.
    3. Five individuals will serve on the committee. A chairperson will be selected by the committee. All members must be present for all proceedings.
    4. The committee will conduct an independent and thorough investigation. In so doing, it will have the power to receive evidence from the grievant, gather evidence from other sources and call witnesses.
    5. The procedures shall consist of a fact finding by the committee. The committee will hear each witness, including the grievant, separately. The grievant will be allowed to present any pertinent evidence to the committee and to have the committee call those witnesses who have testimony pertinent to the decision. All witnesses will swear or affirm the truthfulness of their testimony.
    6. The Chairperson has the responsibility to:
      1. rule on questions of procedure,
      2. rule on the appropriateness of questions directed to any party, and
      3. ensure that all witnesses have been heard.
    7. The testimony of witnesses shall be tape-recorded under the control of the chairperson of the committee, and the tapes shall become an official part of the record.
    8. The committee chairperson will prepare a written report within five (5) days which includes the fact findings and the committee's recommendation to the President. Upon receipt of the recommendation, the President may accept it or provide an appropriate alternative solution. The President's decision, together with a copy of the committee report, will be forwarded to the parties and the chairperson of the committee.
  9. Maintenance of Records
    1. Copies of written grievances/complaints and accompanying responses and documentation should be maintained in the office of the Director of Human Resources.
    2. Copies of grievances/complaints and accompanying responses will be maintained for at least three years.

Revision History: 7/1/1990, 05/04/1996
TBR Policy Reference: 5:01:02:00
TBR Guideline Reference: P-110
Revision Date Effective: 05/04/1996
Revision Approval By: Sherry L. Hoppe, President
Original Date Effective: 11/01/1988
Original Approval By: Wade B. McCamey, President
Office Responsible: Executive Vice President for Business & Finance
Reviewed: 04/03/2014
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